Friary Winter Appeal – A BIG Thank You
When the Friary Winter Appeal was about to be launched towards the end of 2020 there was some apprehension about seeking donations because of the dreadful effects of Covid-19 on jobs and the economy.
But we needed to try and stabilise our finances given the difficult circumstances of staying open, under strict and safe conditions, to provide food parcels and other emergency help to people on the margins of our community. In addition, for a lengthy period of time our kitchen at the Centre was preparing many pre-cooked meals for distribution to rough sleepers who are residing temporarily in City hotels as part of a Government funded ‘off the streets’ plan.
Coinciding with the Friary launch an article appeared in The Tablet about ‘poverty’ that was in effect a timely reminder to us all of the scale and complexity of the problem in the UK. It also added some justification to our decision to go ahead with our appeal.
According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation over 14 million people are living in poverty in the UK.
We know only too well at the Friary that the symptoms of poverty are closely linked to homelessness for reasons that go far beyond low incomes and lack of money. Hunger, fear, anxiety, mental health decline, drug and alcohol dependency, loneliness, loss of dignity, and much more are encountered by the front-line staff every day. Our response has been to provide in normal times a safety net of easily accessible services that offer much needed help and support so that homeless and disadvantaged people can rebuild their lives.
However, these are not normal times. Of necessity last year has seen a reduced but more targeted service being offered coupled with the uncertainty of a date for a return to full opening. Moreover, uncertainty has dominated throughout the year.
It is for this reason the Board of Trustees appreciate the thoughtfulness of all who have donated over £17000 to the Winter Appeal which has exceeded our expectations and allows us to continue our work with improved confidence given the circumstances of the lockdown.
Again, a BIG thank you to all who donated for you kindness, understanding and supportive comments.
Chair of Trustees
For those who missed the Appeal here it is and we are still taking donations for a little while longer thank you:
Nobody wants to be on the streets at this time of year. Help the Friary help the homeless, especially this Christmas.
It’s not only the longer term rough sleepers keeping us busy at present. We are seeing financial repercussions for many, with the pandemic already affecting employment opportunities as businesses struggle to remain viable. People on zero-hour contracts are being harshly affected.
On a positive note, we are seeing a number of people being newly housed, however, we are also seeing people new to homelessness. Some forced to spend nights in cars whilst support and temporary accommodation is sought.
We are seeing people on the edges of employment, turning up on our doorstep as they are not sure where else to turn. They need to lean on us for support, but we will need funding to keep pace. The Friary has stayed open throughout lockdown with staff on site providing support in a Covid secure manner. It is essential we stay open and are available to help the very vulnerable. If anyone needs support or you encounter someone who needs our help we are here for them.
There are many reasons why we are finding people need to leave their homes. Some have recently lost their jobs and do not know where to turn with many agencies remote working due to the pandemic. The Friary is open and helps anyone. Navigating the benefits scheme can be daunting at the best of times but when you are depressed, hungry and alone it can be too much to expect anyone to cope. Our staff are experienced in asking the right questions and enabling people to claim what is due to them whilst enabling them to get back on their feet. Our help does not end there as we realise people need ongoing emotional support and can signpost them to the relevant agencies. We have excellent links with key agencies across the City and County. Practical help, emotional & medical support and financial guidance are all essential to a person getting off the streets and staying safe.
Homelessness is a frightening experience. For those who have not experienced rough sleeping, it can be a daunting place at night and very unsafe. They do not always have a network of friends to help them.
Those new to rough sleeping find the experience hard. They may be less resilient to the perils they are exposed to. We are concerned about those we already support, but equally concerned about those newly homeless and the Friary needs to be ready as an organisation to respond – we hope to expand our welfare benefits support service soon to keep pace with current trends.
Help make sure nobody is turned away this Christmas.
Everyone will forfeit something this Christmas but could you donate the cost of a meal or make a contribution towards the cost of providing practical and emotional support? Help the Friary to make sure people are not left hungry and alone.
Help address poverty in your neighbourhood, please donate to the Friary. Your help this Winter would be so appreciated, to help make sure that fewer people go without this Christmas.
Thank you to everyone who has supported the Friary already throughout this particularly difficult year for us all.